AMITE — Two companies expanding in Ponchatoula sought and received approval Monday from the Tangipahoa Parish Council in their applications for state tax rebates on their expanding payrolls.
Elmer’s Candy Co. is making a $40 million investment to expand its plant, creating 16 new permanent jobs.
J&M Industries Inc. will spend $4.5 million to expand its tarp manufacturing plant and will create 30 new permanent jobs.
Both companies are applying to the state’s Quality Jobs Program, which grants cash rebates of 5 percent or 6 percent of annual gross payroll for new, permanent jobs for up to 10 years. Generally, the jobs must pay at least $14.50 an hour.
The program also can provide a 4 percent sales/use tax rebate on capital expenditures or a 1.5 percent investment tax credit for qualified expenses.
Also on Monday, the Parish Council approved resolutions authorizing Parish President Gordon Burgess to accept two Federal Emergency Management Agency grants totaling more than $960,000 to mitigate potential damage from future hurricanes or other natural disasters.
The first grant, $837,229, will be used to “harden” public buildings against damaging winds so the facilities can remain in use during storms. The funds will cover improvements to seven buildings deemed critical to parish operations. The parish will provide a 25 percent local match to complete the project.
The second grant, valued at $129,491, will fund the design, surveying and environmental study work for an improved drainage system on Range Road west of the Hammond city limits. The busy thoroughfare is prone to flooding during severe weather.
Both grants were awarded to the parish through FEMA’s Gustav-Ike Disaster Fund, which provides monies to lessen damage to roads, infrastructure and facilities during natural disasters.
The council also approved a resolution granting Hammond Area Recreation District No. 1 authority to reissue bonds of up to $9.1 million. Jim Ryan, financial consultant to the council, said the Recreation District is reissuing its current bonds at a time when better interest rates are available.
Ryan said the district, which operates the expansive Chappapeela Sports Park just east of Hammond, should realize savings of about $350,000 over the life of the bonds. The bonds are set to be retired in 2026. The Recreation District is funded by a 10-mill property tax.